The 350Z's interior was cheap and outdated looking when it came out in 2002. Thankfully, the new car addresses this with upgraded materials and components throughout. Again, the family resemblance with the G37 is clear, especially in the optional navigation unit. Anti-slip cloth seats (not Alcantara, Nissan is careful to point out) come standard, as does a revised, eight-speaker Bose audio system. Out back Nissan found some more trunk space by repositioning the rear stabilizer brace. The only oversight we can see is Nissan's decision to make iPod compatibility only available in cars equipped with navigation, although all cars have an auxiliary input.
As with the last car, Nissan made its designers compete for the right to style the 370Z. Once again its La Jolla, California, studio came out the winner. By now everyone has seen pictures of the new 370Z, but it looks more dramatic - and frankly, much more appealing - in person. The head lamps and tail lamps still smack a bit too much of the Maxima, but the taut lines and muscular stance accentuate the car's more athletic dimensions while capturing the unmistakable essence the 240Z. A subtle dash of GT-R comes through as well in the car's kinked A-pillar and downward sloping roof.
Nissan says one of its main goals in the redesign was to maintain the car's bargain-priced virtue, and it appears to have succeeded. The base price at launch will be $30,625, including destination. The trim levels have been simplified, with only two options: 370Z or 370Z Touring. Either of those models can be equipped with a Sport Package, which adds a limited-slip differential, in addition to larger brakes and wheels, and last but not least, the rev-matching feature for the manual.
On paper and in person, the new 370Z appears to be a very worthy successor to the Z-car line and, once again, a smashing sports car bargain. Does it drive as well as it reads? We'll have our thoughts on that on December 1st.